This book boldly re-frames the greatest Indian epic “Ramayana” very successfully through the voice of the vanquished, King Ravana and his accomplice Bhadra. This is one of the best books of epic fiction written off late and highly accepted by the masses for the author’s bold attempt to de-mystify the actual truth behind the great war between Lord Rama and King Ravana, for a woman called Sita.
The words that can describe the book are “mesmerizing, ingenious, brilliant, poignant, impressive, striking and highly emotional”
The world has been living with the Ramayana, which sanctions the God image to Sri Rama and his brother Lakshmana, ever since many centuries. The same Ramayana imposes, the Devil image to King Ravana from Lanka, who is said to have abducted the pious wife of Lord Rama, the lovely Sita. The epic ends with Sita being regained by Rama after terminating Ravana, the Rakshasa, in a great war with the help of the monkey warriors, the Vanaras.
But very few could think of reading a totally different story of the so-called Devil King, the Ravana. The book personifies Ravana’s other side, as a great human being, also called as ‘Dasamukha’ (the man with ten faces) who had conquered the ten base emotions of life, namely - Anger, Pride, Jealousy, Happiness, Sadness, Fear, Selfishness, Passion, Ambition and Intellect. He was well-known among the Asura dynasty as a mighty and learned King who cared for his people, built a caste-less society, built great cities with gold, ruled a vast prosperous empire spanning from Lanka to almost the Himalayas in North India and always treaded the path of righteousness (Dharma) with no scope for treachery. He was a handsome, masculine, well-known and proven scholar of art, literature and medicine, a great warrior, a self-centered ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, a highly ethical ruler, a passionate lover, a responsible father and husband, a loving brother and a man of principles.
A half Brahmin and half Asura, Ravana took the side of his maternal Asura clan, which was in doldrums, due to the ruthless invasions of the fearsome fair-skinned, Devas from the north, which destroyed almost the entire Asura clan.. He, along with his mother and three siblings were abandoned by his father (a Brahmin) at the time when he was young. This was the time when he developed a deadly attitude of conquering the Devas who treated them like dogs. He grew to learn all war tactics and strategic methodologies over a period of time and started plundering and conquering almost all the kingdoms of southern India and some of Northern India, thus declaring himself as the un-precedented emperor of the Asura kingdom with his luxurious capital at Trikota in Lanka.
The most astonishing fact of the story is that Ravana abducts Sita from Rama due to his love towards her not as a lover but as a father. Sita, daughter of Ravana, was abandoned, when she was a baby in a forest, for she is said to bring death to Ravana, when she grows up. He, later realizes his mistake and wants her to stay with him in his luxurious Asura capital as a princess along with her husband. This fact is kept as a secret from Sita, who mistakes Ravana for being a devil who separated her from her husband Rama. The anguish suffered by Ravana in this context is really heart trending. Meanwhile, Rama takes the help of the deadly Vanaras and Vibhishana (younger brother of Ravana), to attack the later in a fierce battle which left Ravana, almost victorious but lost in the last minute, due to few technical mistakes of their un-trained and tired army.
The Asuras, on the other hand, treat Rama as a not so handsome King, treacherous, cunning, morally weak, disloyal, caste-based, non-follower of Dharma, who always doubted the sanctity of his wife Sita ultimately being responsible for all her sufferings and death. The book ends with a sad note after Sita committing suicide, unhappy with Rama’s actions and Lakshmana put to death by Rama, for dis-obeying him. Rama himself ends his life after spending some time in solace for sacrificing his beloved love and wife. The last part also comes as a surprise, as it is depicted in a different way in the epic.
The book brings out so many hard –hitting facts about the greatness of Ravana and his reign as a great emperor of the Asura kingdom, but was unfortunately symbolized as the villain and Rakshasa who met his fate in the hands of Lord Rama, an incarnation of God. The reader is taken through a series of events which makes him a great fan of Ravana after reading this book and would love to read and quest more about this great king who is mistaken for a Rakshasa, also known as the protector (Raksha-sa) in Asuran parlance.
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